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Meet Kristi Neilson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristi Neilson.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kristi. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I like taking pictures and always have. It didn’t really start from a creative place though. It came from a documentary standpoint. My dad had cancer for many years when I was a kid. He ended up passing away when I was 12 from it and during that time, my mom wouldn’t take pictures of him because he looked sick. She said she didn’t want us remembering him that way. While I understand what she was trying to do-it became one of my biggest regrets in life. Regret that I didn’t have a camera to take the pictures myself, that I didn’t force her to document us together in our final years with one another. There is now a large chunk in the short time I had with him that there or no photographs. It still breaks my heart.

I set out on a mission to take photos of everyone and everything I love after that. I already enjoyed taking pictures so it was an easy enough task. I decided I wanted to go to college for photography. I went to Rochester Institute of Technology from 2010-2014 for Fine Art Photography. In my time there, I did documentary work about my families farm and my own journey at that time as a woman. I started photographing other women besides myself once I got a little more comfortable and felt really liberated by making them feel beautiful and or confident. I didn’t want to sexualize women as it seemed everyone else was, I wanted to empower them and help them feel beautiful in their own way. This led me down a fashion editorial path which is where I am now.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I wouldn’t say the journey has been smooth but I wouldn’t expect it to be! I wanted to drop out of college freshman year. It was hard! I didn’t know what I was doing and many of my peers had gone to specialty art high schools and were light years ahead of me. Then after graduating, I came to Los Angeles with a dream like hundreds of thousands of others have. I have been homeless living in my car, bank account has been -500$ with rent due in days. I once had an internship as well as a full-time job and almost lost my paying job. I went 45 days straight working both and thought I was losing my mind. It all paid off though and I am glad I did what I did. It all needed to happen!

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am currently shooting fashion and lifestyle and am based in Los Angeles. I have been told I have a very “LA” style and approach. I like to think of it as a dreaminess. I specialize in photographing people. Lots of artists, musicians, models and personalities. I am not sure I am known for something in particular but I do believe when someone sees my pictures, they can tell they are mine. I have developed my own style that is consistent throughout my work. I primarily shoot film. 35mm and 120 which without a doubt has a different feel than digital. It just slows me, my subject and the viewer down a bit. It’s romantic. It’s timeless. It is telling of my subject. I’m proud that I’ve never gotten a bad review. People seem to enjoy working with me and feel good about my process. They also usually adore the images afterwards. It really is a win win.

I also have been documenting the farm I grew up on for the last 1o years and am in the process of printing a book! I am beyond excited about it and to share the images with the world.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have taken high school and college a little more seriously. We had a terrible art program in my High School but I could have sought out clubs and organizations to familiarize myself more. In college, I could have partied less and nurtured my learning more. With all of that said- It is the real-world experience that has truly developed me into who I am today. Overall- I would have picked the same trail to follow. I like where I am and what I put into the world.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 8609862859
  • Email:
  • Instagram: kristineilson

Image Credit:

Model Carlena Britch, Styling Cameron Sarradet, Hat by Gravestate. Just Magazine Editorial, Model Alina Vorobyova, Styling Christina Cisernos,Hair Jojo Torres, MUA Emiko Smith, Model Baby T, Model Drew Andretti Model Tiara Jackson, Model Eugenie Nahume, Stylist Dustin Connor Ellis, MUA Elizabeth Windust, Model Shelby Gogreve

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